Sometimes you just have to do what you are told in life, and when Mrs Clarke told me to go to Ikea with Little Clarke and pick up a chest of drawers for the playroom on Bank Holiday Monday I had a strange sense of adventure. With the thought of meatballs and impulse purchases at the front of our minds we set off…
Three hours later, stuck somewhere between the kitchens and soft furnishings of Coventry Ikea, amongst a thousand frenzied shoppers with screaming two year old on my shoulders I had wished we had not bothered.
Amongst the piles and piles of plastic I did take a moment to wander how sustainable it was shopping this way. Ikea as a company are incredibly eco conscious and some of their initiatives are industry leading. It is the mentality of shoppers that concerns me. I saw people filling their trolleys with stacks of items that may not last more than a few years. Despite people being more aware about the environment and trying to do their bit to reduce their carbon footprint in lots of areas of their lives, what are we doing when it comes to the home?
I'm not saying that our home is full of vintage stuff; what I'm trying to suggest is that we can be sustainable by mixing old and new
Our approach is to try and buy well and buy once. We have several key pieces in our home that we love and that will last forever. Our kitchen table is a case in point (below). It has been at the heart of our home for ten years and has travelled to each place we have lived in. We bought it from a fabulous antiques dealer on Columbia Road one scorching summer Sunday afternoon whilst we were flower shopping. It is a French farmhouse table made of oak and it bears the scares of many kitchens. My daughter eats at it three times a day, I work from it every day, it has hosted weekly family suppers and has had several life changing discussions around it. The sun has bleached one corner, there are signs of old wood worms and there are chips everywhere you look. But this is the epitome of sustainable living for the home. Our home is full of pieces like this – my father in law’s old tuck box is our coffee table (you can spot this in the header image with some beautiful Bloom & Wild’s), an antique medicine cabinet stores our crockery, our kitchen chairs are chapel chairs that we found from a local boot sale and even the desk in our study is a reconfigured Victorian trestle table.